Arno Botha. (Photo by Anton Geyser/Gallo Images)
Italian club Benetton Treviso earned the right to represent the Northern Hemisphere in the Rainbow Cup grand final against either the Bulls or the Sharks, who meet at Kings Park this weekend.
Benetton were crowned champions of the north section after their final pool stage game against Welsh side Ospreys was cancelled due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the latter team’s camp.
It means Benetton will host one of the South African sides at the Stadio di Monigo, their home, on 19 June.
“With no available weekends remaining, the game will not be rescheduled,” PRO14 Rugby said on their website.
“As a result, PRO14 Rugby will use the protocol decided prior to the 2020/21 season whereby a game that could not be rescheduled would result in that fixture deemed a 0-0 draw, but four match points would be awarded to the team who had not been the cause of the postponement.
“In this case, Benetton will receive four match points. This protocol ensures that no artificial scoring points were added to the tries/points for and against columns.”
The bizarre winning mechanism for Benetton did not receive favour from all quarters, some fans cheekily calling it, “A fitting conclusion to the Rainbow Cup.”
Benetton advance to the Rainbow Cup final having played Zebre twice and gotten one walk-over in three of their five games.
Great to see Italian rugby doing well and all, but surely not like this… ??????
— Cian Tracey (@CianTracey1) June 9, 2021
The equation is simple for the Bulls, who top the Rainbow Cup SA log: secure a losing or four-try bonus point and the inaugural Southern Hemisphere title is theirs.
The task is trickier for the home side who trail the Bulls by four long points in second place: win with a bonus point and prevent Jake White’s men from achieving any of the above.
Sharks captain, Lukhanyo Am, said they were bracing for another epic battle against their Pretoria nemesis come Saturday 18:15 kick-off.